Although the lack of women in technology as an “issue” has never received as much press as it has in recent years, the numbers still don’t lie. The average percentage of women working in the tech industry is 30%, based on diversity reports published by 11 of the world’s largest tech companies in 2014. In comparison, women make up 59 percent of the US labor force and almost 51 percent of the US population, according to the US Census Bureau.
Although many contributing problems have been identified over the years, the statistics can still be disheartening. We hear so much about “girl power,” organizations devoted to educating girls on coding and computer science, and although it is true that many tech companies lack a culture that is welcoming to women, there have been many well-publicized improvements in well-known tech companies in recent years. And, more well-known startups with women at the helm are launching every day. So, why aren’t more women choosing technology as a career?
Could it boil down to a root cause of girls and women simply believing that they can’t?
The truth is that scalable business always contains a tech component—especially if you want to build a billion dollar company. That fact in itself can intimidate women who feel that they don’t have the technical know-how needed to embark on starting their own company or transitioning into a career in tech. But it doesn’t have to!
More than ever, there are countless resources—many of which are free—that teach various coding skills and programming languages, as well as how to become more proficient in other technical areas. Just a few educational resources include:
- Code Academy – A staple within the tech educational community, this site offers a plethora of valuable knowledge. Check out the Make a Website Project course to start.
- Khan Academy – The Computer Programming course offers easy-to-understand info on learning various programming languages and how to make websites.
- HTML5 Rocks – A resource for developers using HTML5, this extensive website made is made up of tutorials across a variety of specific topics.
The following websites and online communities are specific to women in technology and offer valuable inspiration and education.
- Startup Chicks
- Girls Who Code
- Women’s Coding Collective
- Girl Develop It
- Hackbright Academy
- Allied Women Entrepreneurs
- Ladies Learning Code
Additionally, it is absolutely vital to have a great team in place, and to allow them to do what they do best. Although there is a common misconception that all women in tech have a strictly technical background, that simply isn’t the case. Yes, many women in tech have backgrounds in technology, business or finance—but many also have backgrounds in education, healthcare, retail, hospitality; the list is endless. In addition, many stay-at-home moms transition into the tech industry.
In addition to having the proper team in place, it’s extremely wise to network with like-minded industry professionals, as well as other women in tech.
Also, accelerators, such as Springboard Enterprises, have helped countless women to bring their lightbulb moments to life. Springboard is a highly-vetted expert network of innovators, investors and influencers who are dedicated to building high-growth technology-oriented companies led by women.
Through Springboard’s initiatives, they source, qualify, advise, showcase and support the most promising businesses who are seeking capital or partnerships for product development and expansion. Springboard portfolio companies have $6.8 billion in financing, created tens of thousands of new jobs, and continue to generate billions of dollars in annual revenue.
Whether you’re considering launching a startup, starting a new business, or transitioning into the tech industry, the lessons can be whittled down to the following: Never stop learning, network with the best, take advantage of all of the resources available to you, and the proper team is EVERYTHING.
Now is your time to shine! For those of you shining your light at this year’s Global Startup, you’ll be at the perfect venue. This year, .CO will be giving away over $20,000 in prizes, including a trip to Amsterdam, to the winners of the .CO Innovators Track in Global Startup Battle.